MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

April 12, 2012

THE PEOPLE SPEAK – Churches should preach politics

In her letter (Change churches’ tax-exempt status, April 5, 2012), Ms. Virginia “Blue Jeans” Jenner lamented about Baptist preachers telling their congregations to not vote for candidates, usually Democrats, who stand for abortion rights. She wants churches that have such ministers and those churches that host political rallies to have their tax-exempt status’s removed. I say that they should keep their tax-exempt status’s and continue to exercise their rights.

Perhaps Ms. Jenner was unaware that the message of liberty was preached from the pulpits of many churches prior to and during our nation’s war for independence. During the early part of the war, many British loyalists and members of Parliament dismissed the actions of the patriots as “nothing but a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian Rebellion.”

For over 175 years, ministers were at liberty to preach and educate their congregations on political matters. Then, in 1954, a Democrat senator from Texas, who would later become president, introduced an amendment to a major tax bill that became law. It allowed for the removal of a church’s tax-exempt status for attempting “to influence legislation” or “participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

Codified as Section 504 of the Internal Revenue Code, it has been successful in intimidating many ministers from speaking out on important issues in church, including moral ones with political implications. Liberals love it.

Bold pastors like Rev. Paul Blair of Edmond have taken their rightful liberties to address a variety of political matters; including the wrongs of abortion. The government has taken no actions to remove the tax-exempt status’s of their churches, perhaps due to a realization that has eluded liberals: Section 504 is unconstitutional.

Just as Section 504 is constitutionally questionable, so is the outcome of Roe v. Wade. Our ministers should enlighten their congregations on how the five Justices who struck down state abortion laws purposefully ignored the 10th Amendment and exaggerated an interpretation of the Fourth. Ms. Jenner should remember that liberty is for everyone, not just for liberals.

DANNY. J. INNIS

Muskogee

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